This morning, my mom woke me up on her way to work. In true Koko fashion, I fell back asleep for 20 mins. Then I got up, meditated, and convinced myself to do a 30-minute circuit workout. After my last burpee, I sat down on my mat, and opened Facebook. At first, there was a look of bewilderment on my face. That quickly turned to the biggest smile ever.
Erin, my best friend and business partner, had written an 'Ode to Koko' on Feminist Wednesday that left me feeling on top of the world and so incredibly humbled. This is what sisterhood looks like.
I was blushing in a way my brown skin rarely allows for. My whole body breathed the deepest breath I've had in a while.
I originally wrote this post while driving with my dad on the rocky Trunk Road outside of Grande Prairie, and I joined him in the bush in his truck - his mobile office. We were driving to the camp where 30 of our drivers and workers stay while working on site. Enroute, my original post didn't save. It was the exact expression of what I wanted to say to Erin, and about our relationship, but alas, it is now in the ether. So, here's my second attempt.
Mitch said to me a few months ago that Erin and I are an odd pair. I didn't know what he meant, because when I look at Erin, I see someone I deeply respect and adore, I also see a big part of myself in her - many of the things I aspire to become.
I am a tall, Indian girl who loves wearing her mom's gold, and having her nails on fleek, and Erin is the blonde bombshell with an amazing story of tattoos adorning her body, and eyelashes for days surrounding her bright blue eyes. Physically we are quite different. But when I look at Erin, I see someone with whom I share the same values, beliefs, and deeply rooted passion for advancing the message of women's empowerment and feminism globally. I see my sister.
Not so long ago, Erin and I had a mini-intervention. We were both over extended. We had just come back from California, and were overwhelmed closing our investment round, having her and Sal's wedding on the horizon, and making some key decisions on creative and distro. I had an intense moment of anxiety, followed by a really important conversation for us.
We asked each other what our ideal day would look like. For me it included working out, a green shake, meditation, time in nature, phone calls with my family, time with Mitch, and awesome work. For Erin, yoga in the bocce ball room at WeWork, time with Sal in the morning, a beer with Franny at the end of the day, and a full day to unleash on creative. We talked about the things that make us come alive, we talked about how hard we were being on ourselves for not doing this start-up thing perfectly. For not taking time for ourselves. We decided that day to take a breath. To realize we were in control of our lives, and our routines, and we decided to stop being hard on ourselves for being hard on ourselves.
This moment was huge for me. In previous partnerships there was a distinct moment when the empathy could disappear, when one of us would choose to not walk with the other through the pain, shame and discomfort. But in this moment, Erin and I really saw each other, we supported each other, and we heard each other. We decided to grow together, to become better and more whole together. We elevated. This is what sisterhood looks like.
I deeply believe that this is what the women in our lives can do for us at a heart level. The media has portrayed women's relationships as catty and aggressive. It's been portrayed that women and girls are unable to uplift one another. It's time this stops.
Jane Fonda said at TEDWomen when we were in Monterrey that 'our women friends are our renewable source of power.' This is a fact.
I am in awe of the women I have supporting me in my life. They are there with me through the highest highs and the lowest lows. They walk by my side every step of the way - we together unleash a power we could never have known without one another. #squadgoalsforlife
When I reached out to Erin back in August 2014, I had no idea what would happen. Here we are a year later, stronger and better together. She was both a stranger and a woman I deeply admired, I took a leap and everything changed.
As we get older we have a tendency to shut ourselves down to new people coming into our lives, we feel content with what we have, and fear opening ourselves up again. I challenge you to question these feelings when they come up. I challenge you to continue to let amazing women into your life. Because when you do, your life will be elevated in unimaginable ways. I promise.